Widespread Human MERS Transmission In Saudi Arabia

Friday, May 9, 2014
By Paul Martin

May 8, 2014

The release of the three MERS sequences from recent cases in Jeddah and Mecca match the three earlier sequences from Jeddah.

All six human sequences have eight markers not present in any prior human sequence. Two of the eight have not been reported in any other MERS sequences, including recently released camel sequences from Taif.

The six human sequences are from four hospitals in two cited (Jeddah and Mecca) indicating MERS is now transmitting human to human in western Saudi Arabia.

The clonal expansion is similar to the clonal expansion of SARS in 2003, when virtually all human cases after the spread at the Metrolpole Hotel had the same marker (a 29 nt deletion not found in any prior sequence, including civets).

The match between the six humans sequences indicates human to human MERS transmission is widespread in western Saudi Arabia, which raises serious pandemic concerns.

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